Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

The Hunger Games
There was a lot of hype surrounding this movie, and even though it did gangbusters at the box office, sadly, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. The story had the potential to be interesting, and there were a lot of parts that obviously had significance to fans of the novels, but since I was unfamiliar with the source material, a lot of the dramatic tension was lost on me. I love Jennifer Lawrence, but I didn’t feel her character Katniss develop or change over the course of the movie – in fact, no characters developed or changed. The first impression that you get of every character is the correct one. Ultimately, The Hunger Games reminded me a lot of the first two Harry Potter movies: more transcription than adaptation. In the novels, Katniss apparently doesn’t say anything but has an elaborate internal monologue that frames the entire story. In the movie, she doesn’t say anything…and we get no sense of what she’s feeling. Aside from problems with dramatic tension, though, the movie’s not bad at all. The special effects are okay, the supporting performances from Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Stanley Tucci are all enjoyable, and the ideas behind everything are intriguing. I’m glad this film is set to replace Twilight as the next big young adult film franchise adapted from popular books, and if you like The Hunger Games, that’s fine. But nothing in this movie hit home for me, and in the end, I’d much rather watch Battle Royale if I want to see some teenagers killing each other.
3 out of 5

The Tempest
Julie Taymor brings her awesome visual style to this film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, and since my complaints about the movie are really just complaints about the story – seriously, those boring old dudes wandering blindly around the island are really quite dull – I think she deserves a lot of credit for adding some of her trademark flair to the proceedings. The casting is great, with Helen Mirren playing a badass female Prospero, Ben Wishaw as the water spirit Ariel, and Russell Brand and Alfred Molina as the pair of boozy buffoons. Somehow, Russell Brand was born to play a Shakespearean fool. Everyone once in a while, Taymor makes an odd music choice or tries to reinterpret Shakespeare in a way that doesn’t quite work, but overall, I got what I wanted out of The Tempest.
3.75 out of 5


Quentin Dupieux’s bizarre film about a psychic rubber tire that can explode peoples’ heads with its mind is a strange one, to say the least, and I can’t decide if it has too much ambition or not enough. The opening lines of the movie are essentially a disclaimer stating that the film makes no sense, so if it doesn’t work…is that the point? Regardless of this, I think the story that the movie tells and the added commentary that it gives about the nature of storytelling through cinema would both have been better suited to a short film. As the movie itself admits, it doesn’t make any sense, and after a while, it can get a bit tedious simply because you know that there’s probably no deeper meaning to what you’re seeing. In the end, it’s quirky, there are a few truly weird moments that are worth seeing, but it’s certainly not for everybody.
3 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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